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Lawn-service related health problems

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Tom-N-Texas, Sep 26, 2004.

  1. Tom-N-Texas

    Tom-N-Texas LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 370

    This post is just a small warning to all about possible long-term effects of the lawn service.

    I've been doing this business for about 17 years. I was 19 when I started. I'm now 36. For years I thrived on being a work-a-holic. As a result of my labors I have a nice new big house...a great family...all the toys I could ever want and more. Life has always been good. I always make over $100,000 per year. But I'm starting to wonder now ---- at what price????

    I've always had a crew work with me but I've always insisted on being on the job working with them. Not only does this insure the job is done right, but also it gets done faster. My crew and I average 35-45 lawns cut per day. 5 days per week. And usually a full day saturday is spent on shrubs.

    My problem is after many many years of doing basically hard labor my body is seeminly starting to crumble. This is very hard to deal with since I've always been very healthy and fit.

    First of all I've started having chronic headaches. This at first may seem unrelated.....but after much research I've determined that it may be due to my many years of using the weedeater and edger. As you know when you use these machines you are always looking downward towards the ground. This puts much strain on your neck and shoulder muscles resulting in small microscopic tears. I've read that many people who "look down" for a living such as welders or draftsman often develop chonic headaches.

    I've also developed back problems, sleep problems, anxiety problems, skin problems and more. I can't say for sure they are all business related but the following things certainly can't help.

    1. Numerous years spent in the sun

    2. exhausting physical exertion (10-12 hours per day)

    3. Financial pressures (every entrepreneur knows about this)

    4. poor eating habits (what else is there besides fast food?)

    5. constant gasoline fumes

    6. Too many sodas/caffeine (depleting vitamin b)

    7. inhalation of fertilizer/weed control sprays

    In the past couple years I've allowed my crew to take more physical responsibilities while I try to tame my inner work-a-holic obsessions. It's not easy. But I'm learning.

    Anyone else have any industry-related health issues???
  2. promower

    promower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,232

    Ive only been at this a few years but now I really have something to look forward to :cool2:
  3. Wreak

    Wreak LawnSite Member
    Posts: 90

    1. Numerous years spent in the sun

    Wear pants, long sleeve shirts, and a hat.

    2. exhausting physical exertion (10-12 hours per day)

    Sit in the truck while the crew works and then get out and inspect the property before you give the go ahead to let them leave.

    3. Financial pressures (every entrepreneur knows about this)

    Hire somebody to do this. Your wife? A trustworthy long time worker buddy?

    4. poor eating habits (what else is there besides fast food?)

    Bring your lunch, fruits, veggies, ham and cheese sandwiches.

    5. constant gasoline fumes

    Wear one of those masks that cover your mouth and nose.

    6. Too many sodas/caffeine (depleting vitamin b)

    Drink water, crystal light, kool aid

    7. inhalation of fertilizer/weed control sprays

    See # 5.

    If I could only follow my own advice then I'd be more healthy, have no headaches, be at an ideal weight, and not be stressed. LOLOLOL
  4. thor

    thor LawnSite Member
    Posts: 36

    after 12 yrs of doing this nothing has slowed me down yet ,but 1 thing i develop some nasty cysts on my back occasionaly doctors believe due to chemical exposure , maybe due to too many times as a kid mixing many nasty herbicides .I had 2 explosions+many leaks w/backpack sprayers. having had my back scab over due to burns. that and a little bit of hearing loss .......what ...what did you say?
  5. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,125

    Hi Tom, I have often wondered how bad the dust I breath is effecting my lungs, I have just started to wear a dust mask last week.

    I too have an anxiety disorder along with panic attacks.(this isn't something I share with many people, but I guess it's out now) I have had this disorder for about 13 years. I actually started my business right after I developed this disorder, I needed the freedom of being my own boss and seen Lawn Care as a way of doing it. I did have experience from working for my dad at a park. I was in charge of the grounds and we had a couple of softball fields that had leagues every night. I would get dizzy from dragging the diamonds. I was constantly looking down and driving in circles. I would get off the tractor and realize I have lost my balance. I sometimes wonder if, I drove my self dizzy :)

    Along with the anxiety disorder comes a long list of behaviors, such as several you have listed. I hope you are being treated for this disorder.

    Take care of yourself, I wish you well.
  6. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,125

    Tom, one more thing. You should stay away from caffeine the best you can if you are experiencing anxiety. I used to drink a 2 liter or more of Mountain Due a day and my doctor talked me into giving that up. It has helped a lot. I try to drink only water and white soda during the day.
  7. mbricker

    mbricker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 505

    Tom-n-Texas, I relate to just about every affliction you named. I just think we need to make better use of all that willing Hispanic labor and take it a little easier.
  8. Tom-N-Texas

    Tom-N-Texas LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 370

    Yea the caffeine is a biggie. I am a self-admitted Coke/Dr Pepper addict. It sounds really bad but in the past I have downed upwards of 8 sodas or more per day. I really think this may be a contributer of some of my problems. Just this past year though I've made the switch to Gatorade -- with an occasional soda thrown in when I eat lunch. It's not as good for you as water but at least Gatorade doesn't have the caffeine or as much sugar as sodas. I wish I could take back all the years I drank so many soft drinks.

    take care, Tom
  9. Stuttering Stan

    Stuttering Stan LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,503

    After just 4 years in this business I realized I wouldn't make it to 35-40 years old, so I decided on another career that isn't as physically hard, but I still do lawns part time(30 hrs. week) to keep in shape and extra money. I had to ask myself if I really wanted to be busting my a$$ at 40 years old.NO!!!
  10. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    Yep, 16 years here too, same boat as you, no pun intended with the $100,000+, toys yada yada, except I do it all solo.

    Earlier this year I was pushing 80-100 hours / week, now it's down to about 60.

    Next year it's going to start at 60 and be down to about 40 by this time next year.

    I know about the trimming part. My upper shoulder / neck always KILLS that first 2 weeks of spring.

    I don't have the headaches though, and the financial part of it I've pretty much been able to put away over the years. I've got all my clients contracted, with 1/2 contracted for snow removal too, so I'm able to have a set budget for the entire year.

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